Review: The Italian Job


Title: The Italian Job
Platform: PS2
Developer: Climax
Publisher: Eidos
Players: 4


Car racing games face a major problem, because unlike FPS’ or RPGs, where weapons and monsters and fighting techniques create variety, all car racing games have are cars zooming through streets. Pretty stagnant really. So when a racer hits the scene it has to shine. Midnight Club 2 pulled it off, and GTA3, while not solely a racer, put a new spin on the genre in terms of environment and exploration. Sadly, The Italian Job does not exceed its predecessors. But it’s not all that bad either.

The biggest shame-on-you insult is that it claims to be a movie tie-in. But pictures of Seth Green on the load screen do not a movie game make. It frankly has little if any plot, other than a pitiful voiceover between boards. It’s almost like they had a car racing game half finished but wanted to get it out along side a hot movie in hopes we’d be fooled. The missions are the same every time: find your way to the red dot on the radar before time runs out. That’s it, every time. The Environment doesn’t change until the tenth misison or so, and the supposed secret routes, such as through alleys and up mall steps, are few and far between. There are no pedestrians, hardly any jumps except blatant ramps in the middle of the road, and get ready for this, NO DAMAGE GRAPHICS. Well, okay, your car will smoke after you’ve plowed into the wall 20 times, but c’mon, the only graphic requirement for a racer is some cool damage!

So why then, did I find myself playing it into the wee hours of the night? Handling. The cars obey your command like a crack whore obeys a pimp, so you can whip around buses and catch that jump with ease. Coupled with the high speeds, it’s almost like smoking a cigarette in the morning–you know you shouldn’t, but it feels so good you can’t stop. The two wheeled cornering manuever is a sweet addition, and catching air over the hills make you want to watch Bullit. Then there’s the subway race, separating the men from the boys. Why oh why wasn’t the rest of the game like the subway board?

Because the game came out too early; it wasn’t finished being developed. Nevertheless I think you’ll secretly enjoy it, though you might feel ashamed afterward.